July 12, 2024

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Weight Management for a Lifetime: 10 Strategies

3 min read
Weight Management for a Lifetime: 10 Strategies

The reality of losing weight and keeping it off requires a long-term (okay, a lifetime) commitment. You know as well as I do that this commitment isn’t always easy.

My motivation to make that commitment came from a family history of heart disease, high blood pressure, and diabetes. My mother had, and my sisters still have these conditions; developing from unhealthy eating as well as carrying around too much extra weight.

So what’s the next step after making that commitment to yourself? Actually, I can give you 10 steps

1. Set the right goal. Or maybe I should say, set a realistic goal. It doesn’t have to be about weighing what you did in high school. It’s not about being a size 0. (Face it, when you’re over 50 and you’re too skinny, it’s not attractive). According to experts, it’s a good idea to base your weight goal based on your body mass index (Do a Google search and you’ll find out how to calculate that BMI)
2. Pick a date to get started, and write that date on your calendar. If you don’t pick a start date, you may continue to put off your weight management plan. After picking your date, do some advance planning: fill your fridge with healthy foods, buy some exercise DVDs, sign up for an exercise class.
3. Don’t starve yourself. When we eat too much, we gain weight. But eating too little isn’t a good choice, either. Eating too few calories during your day slows down your metabolism. The best way to decide how many calories to eat during the day is to consider how active you are in your daily life. Nowadays, there are phone apps that can give you an idea of what your daily calorie needs are, based upon you lifestyle. Other calorie calculators can be found online.
4. Keep a food journal. We often eat mindlessly, and underestimate what we eat on a daily basis. For at least a week, write down not only what you eat, but also portion sizes. It will help you track the times when you overeat. Being aware of that can help you plan to substitute healthier options at those times. (Don’t forget to count beverages).
5. Eating breakfast is crucial. But not just any breakfast; an all carbohydrate morning meal will cause your energy to lag early in the day, and won’t keep you filled up for long. Instead, include a protein, whole grains, and fruit. For example, try an egg scrambled in canola oil or a whole-wheat bread thin with berries on the side.
6. Fill your lunch and dinner plate with vegetables and fruits. They add anti-oxidants, nutrients and fiber to your meals. You can eat higher portions of them, since they have fewer calories and fat than meats and processed foods.
7. Speaking of fiber, boost your intake in order to lose weight. Fiber helps block the absorption of calories. Try oatmeal or other high fiber cereal with breakfast, beans for lunch, and whole grains throughout your day.
8. Avoid processed foods and cut back on fat intake. Processed foods have too much salt, too much sugar, and too many trans-fats. To cut back on fat, choose leaner cuts of meat, low-fat cheese and yogurt, and bake food instead of frying it.
9. Drink up. Cold water, that is. Believe it or not, researchers have found that simply drinking two 8 ounce glasses of cold water can enhance your metabolism by 30%.*
10.Don’t forget to sweat. Some health experts argue that cutting calories is more important for weight loss than exercising. I would argue that even if it’s easier to eat 100 fewer calories a day than to burn off those calories, exercise definitely has its place in the weight management game. Exercise helps you burn fat and strengthens muscles and bones. It can also reduce stress, lower cholesterol, and build self-confidence.

By maintaining a healthy weight, my blood pressure is comfortably low and my cholesterol levels are good. At 60 years old, I’ve managed to avoid the heart disease and diabetes that plagued my mother until her death. I feel strong, and I love that feeling.

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